Thursday, May 31, 2012

Stewart MacDonald Campfire Mandolin Kit

After returning the International Violin Mandolin Kit, I made the decision to go with the Stewart MacDonald Campfire Mandolin Kit.  This flat top mandolin design is based on the Gibson Army/Navy Mandolin that was made briefly during WWI and sold only in the PX to soldiers and sailors. 1917- maybe 1919.  There was also a Gibson Alrite model that had more ornamentation.  These are all valuable today.  Martin also made a very nice flat-top for a time.  This "pancake" mandolin style lends itself more to Celtic music than Bluegrass,  and that works well for me.  If you are interested in this style mandolin but are not the "build it yourself" type, then I recommend taking a look at the Traveller mandolins built by Steve Smith, or Big Muddy (formerly Mid Missouri) Mandolins.  These are some fine crafted all-wood mandolins.

As you can see from the picture, the Stew-Mac Kit leaves more to do yourself.  I am hoping to end up with a nut width that is wider than the standard 1 1/8" .   Maybe 1 1/4" would be nice. 

The plan is to post pictures of the project as it progresses.  Here goes..............

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Useful Creative Project

Mandolin Build- After a long painting dry spell, the creative urge boiled over into a new arena.  I had been looking to buy a mandolin but could not find anything that fit my specifications that also fit my budget.  The idea of building a mandolin started to infect my brain.  First: research.  There are DIY kits available from a number of sources.  I decided on a kit from International Violin of an A style without F holes. ( I want a round or oval hole.)  After it arrived, I looked it over and it seemed to me that there was too much already done (the neck, fretboard and frets-all assembled) but the big problem was that the neck was too thin.  Back it went!